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February Houseby Sherill Tippins
Synopses & Reviews
The next best thing to having a room key to the Chelsea Hotel during each of its famousand#8212;and infamousand#8212;decades
The Chelsea Hotel, since its founding by a visionary French architect in 1884, has been an icon of American invention: a cultural dynamo and haven for the counterculture, all in one astonishing building. Sherill Tippins, author of the acclaimed February House, delivers a masterful and endlessly entertaining history of the Chelsea and of the successive generations of artists who have cohabited and created there, among them John Sloan, Edgar Lee Masters, Thomas Wolfe, Dylan Thomas, Arthur Miller, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, Sam Shepard, Sid Vicious, and Dee Dee Ramone. Now as legendary as the artists it has housed and the countless creative collaborations it has sparked, the Chelsea has always stood as a mystery as well: Why and how did this hotel become the largest and longest-lived artistsand#8217; community in the known world? Inside the Dream Palace is the intimate and definitive story.
Today the Chelsea stands poised in limbo between two futures: Will this symbol of New York's artistic invention be converted to a profit-driven business catering to the top one percent? Or will the Chelsea be given a rebirth through painstaking effort by the community that loves it? Set against these two competing possibilities, Inside the Dream Palace could not be more fascinating or timely.
The history of New York's legendary Chelsea Hotel,and#160;whereand#160;artists of all stripes, legends themselves,and#160;have lived and loved and workedand#160;for more thanand#160;a century.
Tippins reveals the story of an extraordinary experiment in communal living--involving the young but already iconic writer Carson McCullers and burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee--in a house at 7 Middagh Street in Brooklyn during 1940 and 1941.
In this captivating book, Sherill Tippins brings to life the story of what was possibly the most fertile and improbable live-in salon of the twentieth century. Known as February House, its residents included, among others, Carson McCullers, W. H. Auden, Paul Bowles, and the famed burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee. This ramshackle Brooklyn brownstone was host to an explosion of creativity, an extraordinary experiment in communal living, and a nonstop yearlong party fueled by the appetites of youth. Here these burgeoning talents composed many of their most famous, iconic literary works while experiencing together a crucial historical moment--America on the threshold of World War II.
About the Author
Sherill Tippins has worked as an associate producer for PBSs affiliate in Austin, Texas, and is the coauthor of The Irreverent Guide to New York. She lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Contents List of Illustrations ix Preface xi Part I The House on the Hill June November 1940 1 Part II The Bawdy House December 1940 February 1941 113 Part III The House of Genius March December 1941 179 Epilogue 244 Authors Note and Acknowledgments 261 Notes 264 Selected Bibliography 291 Credits 298 Index 303
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